I was reminded of this when I first attempted to make gluten-free mozzarella sticks. The cheese sticks kept melting in the hot oil. Instead of crispy sticks with oozy centers, I had cheese that was a runny mess. Then I remembered a technique I hadn't used in years: double dipping during the first part of the standard breading procedure.
The classic standard breading procedure calls for you to dip a food in flour, egg, and then breadcrumbs. While this works really well for most foods, fried cheese needs a slightly thicker coating than the standard breading procedure usually offers. And that's what I wanted: a slightly thicker coating, one that didn't overpower the cheese stick or border on batter-like.
Enter the double dip. While double dipping is never, ever welcome at parties, it's more than welcome in this recipe.
To make crispy mozzarella sticks that don't leak during cooking, simply roll a piece of string cheese in seasoned white rice flour, then in a whisked egg, and then—here's where the double dip happens—return once again to the white rice flour, and again to the egg, and only then roll it in bread crumbs. When breading remember to coat the ends of the sticks. This is important. Forgetting to coat the ends will result in leaky sticks.
I pan fry the sticks in about 1⁄2-inch of oil instead of deep frying them. This is not only quicker, it also gives you a little more control over the sticks. Fry them in about 1⁄2-inch of oil for 30 seconds, turn the sticks, and fry for another 30 seconds.
What you decide to serve with mozzarella sticks might depend on where you live. I like mine with tomato sauce. However, in upstate New York, they are often served with raspberry sauce! Several folks on Facebook who live in the Midwest, mentioned they eat mozzarella sticks with ranch dressing. As long as your dipping sauce is gluten-free, serve them with whatever you love!
- 4 ounces (1 cup) white rice flour
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Pinch (little less than 1/8 teaspoon) granulated garlic
- Pinch freshly ground black pepper
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 5 ounces (1 cup) dried gluten-free bread crumbs
- 12 pieces string cheese, cold and unwrapped
- Vegetable Oil
Line up three plates on your counter. On first plate, whisk together white rice flour, granulated garlic, salt, dried basil, and freshly ground black pepper. On second plate, whisk eggs until smooth. On third plate, place bread crumbs.
Cut cheese sticks in half. Roll string cheese in white rice flour, coating well. You don’t want any bare spots on the cheese stick. Take care to coat ends of cheese stick with flour. This prevents stick from “leaking” during frying.
Roll cheese stick in egg, coating thoroughly. Return cheese stick to white rice flour and coat again. Return again to egg and coat thoroughly. Finally, roll coated sticks in bread crumbs. Place coated stick on a baking pan or large dish. Repeat until all sticks are coated. Chill cheese sticks for five minutes.
Heat 1/2-inch of oil in an 8-inch frying pan. Sprinkle a little white rice flour on the surface of the oil. If flour sizzles, oil is ready.
Remove cheese sticks from refrigerator. Place six cheese sticks into the pan. Fry for 30 seconds. Using a heat-proof spatula, roll sticks in oil to turn. Fry an additional 30 seconds or until the sticks are golden brown. If any cheese begins to leak, remove sticks from oil.
Repeat with remaining cheese sticks. Serve with sauce and enjoy!